Direct flights lift off between Melbourne and Hangzhou

Beijing Capital Airlines is flying high with its second non-stop route from Melbourne.

By David Flynn, June 17 2024
Direct flights lift off between Melbourne and Hangzhou

China’s tea capital of Hangzhou is now just a single flight from Melbourne, following the highly-anticipated launch of Beijing Capital Airlines’ new direct service.

The 11-hour journey takes flight thrice weekly on an Airbus A330, fitted with lie-flat beds in a 2-2-2 layout.

JD386 from Melbourne departs at 7am every Monday, Thursday and Saturday, while the overnight JD385 from Hangzhou’s Xiaoshan International Airport sees wheels up at 3.50pm on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

The Melbourne-Hangzhou flights complement Beijing Capital’s existing service to Qingdao – a city which among other things is known for its beer, as the home of the Tsingtao brewery founded by Germans in 1903.

Hangzhou is the eighth non-stop destination in mainland China to forge a connection to Melbourne, and Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation Jim Parashos says the route brings together “the best of east and west cultures, together for both trade and travel”.

Home to around 11 million people, Hangzhou is known for its picturesque West Lake and high quality tea, while Shanghai is only an hour’s high speed train ride away.

Chinese tourists spent a total of $5.8 billion in Australia in 2023, although this is little more than half of their 2019 spend, while the number of Chinese passport holders travelling to Victoria now sits at just 62% of pre-pandemic levels.

That said, Melbourne continues to lead the way in Australia’s international aviation rebound.

Turkish Airlines is perhaps the biggest coup to date, with the Star Alliance member flying to Istanbul via Singapore and non-stop Melbourne-Istanbul flights on the cards for 2026.

Vietjet now connects Melbourne to both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, while December 2023 saw the start of Air India’s non-stop flights to Mumbai.

South Korea’s Asiana Airlines will also run four flights per week between Melbourne and Seoul during its 2024 seasonal service from July to September.

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